With European champions Real Madrid, Champions League runners-up Atletico Madrid, Europa League winners Sevilla and a Barcelona side containing three of the most feared forwards in the history of football all challenging for top honours at home and abroad, Spain’s La Liga continues to thrill fans from all over the world.
The title race is wide open the season, with all of the above teams still in contention. So, who are the in-form players as we head into the run-in and could we see a shock worthy of trumping Atletico’s 2013/14 league victory?
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Named the best player in the world for a fourth time in his glittering career, the Portuguese star continues to stretch goal scoring records to their limit, even at the age of 32. After winning the Champions League and the European Championships in 2016, the mercurial forward will be hoping to add another La Liga title to his trophy cabinet in 2017 and, with Gareth Bale out of contention until April, he is his team’s undisputed star. Featured on many top players list, including sports authority 888sport, it’s clear to see this player isn’t done winning yet.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Still only 29 years old, the five-times Ballon D’Or winner has been at the very pinnacle of the game for a decade, winning an incredible 29 trophies and scoring over 300 La Liga goals in the process. Although Barcelona has switched from playing suffocating, possession-based football to a more dynamic, counter-attacking style in recent years, the Argentine is still the epitome of everything the Catalans are so renowned for around the world.
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)
Despite being linked with a move to the Premier League in recent months, Griezmann has picked up this season where he left off last term, with his pace on the counter key to Diego Simeone’s drilled, robust style of play. Losing the Frenchman would pose a huge blow to Atletico, who continue to challenge in La Liga despite having a miniscule budget compared to their city neighbours.
Samir Nasri (Sevilla)
Seen as surplus to requirements by Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, the Frenchman has shown his boss just what he’s been missing in the south of Spain this season, helping to establish Sevilla as title challengers for the first time in a decade. Los Rojiblancos haven’t been Spanish champions since 1946 – can Nasri inspire them to make history?
Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo)
The Liverpool flop has been a revelation since returning to Celta in 2015, catapulting the Galicians into European contention with his goals. 10 goals before Christmas earned Aspas an international-call up and the forward notched on his debut – against England, of all teams. The 29 year-old has proved that there is life after Nolito for the club managed by Marcelo Bielsa disciple Eduardo Berizzo.
Although the Premier League continues to see the riches flood in, there can be no doubt that La Liga is home to football’s finest – we haven’t even mentioned Suarez or Neymar!